A workout in our system in the simplest sense is an activity you log manually, or record with the app, that includes an activity type and duration.These two statistics help determine a variety of other information including pace and calories burned. When combined with timeseries data (only available when recording on verified devices with GPS tracking), or other compatible sensors, workouts can provide great detail about your health and fitness levels.
Routes on the other hand are just a visual representation of the path you want to follow, or already have. You can create and edit these manually on the site. When a workout is recorded on the app with a GPS connection, a map will be created as a byproduct of the workout. When manually logging a workout, you will also have the option to manually create or associate it with a map. Some route stats, like elevation data, are specific to GPS-enabled routes, so workouts will not pull this information without an error-free, map.
Courses are the competitive aspect of MapMyFitness, encouraging the community to take part in challenging each other. Courses use a combination of workout and map data to award points, and leaderboard activity for your personal bests. Courses are automatically recognized by the app and certain third-party GPS devices and watches. If there is a course on your route it will automatically be applied, there is no way to manually associate courses with your activity.